AG, FOOD & FORESTRY
Ag, Food & Forestry
The Agriculture, Food & Forestry division is targeting growth in both domestic and export markets. The increasing pressure on land across the world for food production is set against a backdrop of available land, low productivity and highly inefficient agricultural operations across Africa.
This presents numerous opportunities to develop large scale, vertically integrated agricultural businesses. Many of the countries in which Maris operate also benefit from a global competitive advantage in horticultural production. This is due to their favourable climatic conditions and unique market windows for exports.
Furthermore, with deforestation rates in Africa at double the international average there is a compelling opportunity to develop well- managed sustainable timber plantations for the domestic markets. Combined with the abundant space available throughout the region and global demand for sustainable hardwood timber increasing, there are also export opportunities.
In 2012 Maris acquired a controlling interest in Equatoria Teak Company, a former CDC and Actis investment. The company is South Sudan’s only sustainable forestry plantation and is Africa’s second largest teak grower. In 2016, Maris also set up Equatoria Teak Products, Kenya’s leading supplier and manufacturer of high quality, finely crafted teak products. Thise includes flooring, decking, doors and windows, outdoor furniture and treated teak wood.
TEA & AVOCADOS
In 2012, Maris invested in Tatepa, a leading Tanzanian agricultural holding company, which owns Wakulima Tea Company (WTC) and Rungwe Avocado Company (RAC). Wakulima grows, markets and exports tea tea and is the 3rd largest tea exporter in Tanzania after Unilever and DL group. It owns 308 Ha of its own estates, but over 80% of production is through it’s a network of 14,000 outgrowers. Rungwe Avocado Company is the 2nd largest producer of avocados and regularly exports over 1m kilos of avocados per year.
These companies are major local employers and have extensive social programmes. Equatoria Teak Company is the largest private tax payer and employer in Western Equatoria State and through its social fund has supported a range of local projects from the construction of a secondary school to vaccine storage facilities. Wakulima Tea Company is 30% owned by the smallholders, to whom it provides extensive technical extension, financial and community support.